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Pharmacist FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Drug Disposal

Q. How should a pharmacy dispose of drugs, both non-controlled medications & controlled substances?

A. Pharmacists can download a drug disposal form from the board website (Record of Drug Disposal for Prescription & Controlled Substances, This form is primarily for retail pharmacies. Each form should be returned to the Board office, Attention Investigations, and it will be reviewed as to witnesses and method of disposal. Once approved, the form will be returned to you.

DEA will not accept this form as confirmation of destruction of controlled substances. The DEA form for destruction of controlled substances and instructions can be found at

For controlled substance destruction in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics, the Drug Control Unit of the NC Department of Health & Human Services should be contacted at 919-733-1765.

Pharmacies, of course, can employ reverse distributors to dispose of expired medications or unwanted medications. Following manufacturer’s policies, medications can be returned to them for credit.


Q. How should a pharmacist advise a patient concerning drug disposal?

A. Please refer to this instruction guide for proper medication disposal.



DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (“DEA”) PROPOSES RULES THAT WOULD ALLOW RETAIL PHARMACIES TO CONDUCT CERTAIN CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE TAKE-BACK PROGRAMS.  On December 21, 2012, the DEA published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow retail pharmacies to conduct certain controlled substance take-back programs.  The DEA notice may be found here:  Board staff has prepared a short summary of the proposed rule, which may be found here.


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